REVIEW: Diverse Arts – an eclectic exhibition of Northern Artists

By Pip Land

There’s just two days left to see some fascinating works of art at The Old School House (TOSH)  as “Diverse Arts – an eclectic exhibition of Northern Artists” ends on Sunday.

It certainly is eclectic but there is a very distinct common thread and that is all five artists enjoy experimenting with art forms,  whether using traditional materials like wool or by moving into the digital age.

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Jane Mercer combines her love affair with wool to produce abstract interpretations of the natural world whilst Anne Ward uses collage and layering to add depth and a 3D texture to her landscapes and seascapes.

Sarah McKenzie creates hand-formed wire wall art and 3D pieces which are inspired by natural forms such as seed heads, flowers and trees.

Their art was even more exciting when juxtaposed with that of Chris Bowran and Dave Mercer.

Bowran commented: “I’m fascinated by the overlap between traditional techniques and 21st century digital tools. The computer is a tool just like any other tool an artist uses and I love the way I can draw, paint or print something and give it yet another dimension using digital software.”

Or as Mercer explained: “We live in an age of evolving and accelerating technological change, so it is natural that artists use the opportunities this technology presents to create images using techniques that were not possible just a few years ago.

“I use cameras, software and digital painting techniques on an iPad to create my work. They have become my version of a canvas and paint brush. The inspiration for my work is to lose the original photograph but to retain the moment, to reveal the essence and atmosphere of a place or object.”

For me he definitely achieved that in his picture of Dubai Mall.

All the artists in this exhibition shared their exuberant experimentation by producing excellent artwork.

The next exhibition at TOSH is a little more traditional but just as interesting. It features the work of Fay Chetwood, another northern artist, who uses pencil drawings and watercolours to convey her great love of the moors and the coast. This exhibition will end on July 20.

TOSH is open from 10am to 5pm Monday to Saturday. Refreshments are available in the café when films are being shown.